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Drug Addiction

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Drug Addiction

Published 1951

Classic "slippery slope" narrative of post-World War II stoned slackerdom.

Run time 21:02
Producer Encyclopaedia Britannica Films, Inc.
Sponsor Juvenile Protection Association of Chicago (The) and The Wieboldt Foundation
Audio/Visual Sd, B&W


Marty, a "good boy," experiments with marijuana and experiences "profound mental and emotional disturbances." As in all anti-drug films of this vintage, marijuana leads straight to "H," and Marty's decline continues until he is busted, rehabbed and reformed.
Drug Addiction's stilted view of the urban drug culture and unrealistic portrayals of stoned slackers make it entertaining viewing today. It belongs to that little-known "second wave" of anti-drug films, the postwar scare stories about middle-class kids overcome by junkiedom. What this wave of films reveals is that drugs were an issue for white adolescents long before the psychedelic Sixties, and that the official response to the threat expressed a general, not specifically targeted paranoia.

Ken Smith sez: This film chronicles the decline and fall of "Marty" (see Are You Ready For Marriage?), a "good boy" who becomes a junkie. Marty's experimentation begins with marijuana, which produces "profound mental and emotional disturbances." Marty then goes straight to "H," which he buys from Louie, the local dealer (who keeps his stash in a lamp base). Marty is caught, sent to a drug rehab center (where he cuts down dead corn stalks and plays checkers), and reforms. The scene where Marty and some of his stoned friends drink out of broken Pepsi bottles is memorable. As in all drug films, the marijuana sequences are the most entertaining. "Thoughtless curiosity can lead to a lifetime of pain and torment!" The street pushers in this film wear turtlenecks.
This film begins with EXCELLENT shot of teens at a drive-in, sitting in convertible. Also, shot of teens stealing camera
"the very thoughtlessness of youth" leads to it
blacks visible
"wherever there is a troubled personality, no matter how hidden or unrecognized, there may be a seed bed for drug addiction"
"started by a friend. drug addiction is contageous"
"he was determined to be one of the gang if it killed him"
"befogged brain...a clever way to open pop bottles"
(pepsi PHOTO 7:32)
"will it make me sick like the reefers?" "I dare ya!"
(mainlining PHOTO 9:05)
Duke: "Mainline it. Like I'm doin'! The stuff costs too much to waste it."
Marty: "I don't wanna punch myself fulla holes like that."
(stealing from mom PHOTO 11:59)
"plagued by sudden attacks of vomiting and of diarrhea"
"You wouldn't help your mother out of a rat hole." "Don't be a square. You ain't got no chance. You're just a junkie to everybody around here."

John Galvarro -- "Marty Demalone" Beulah Brandon -- "Mrs Demalone"



Reviewer: hgoodall - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - February 26, 2012
Subject: I found this one in one of my encrypted boxes
I have about 10 tb of material, but I am trying hard not to repeat the same material if it had been uploaded by someone else. Whoever uploaded this one good job.
Reviewer: oblongdot - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - July 5, 2011
Subject: Response to kfinn- Public Domain?
Hi kfinn,
If you look at the main page from where you select your Prelinger Archive title, scroll down and on the left you will see a box titled "Rights". There you will see that these are completely free to use in whatever way you wish. Hope this helps.

Reviewer: kfinn - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - July 2, 2011
Subject: Public Domain?
Greetings, I'm trying to find out if this video is in the public domain or if it needs to be licensed. Any help you could give would be greatly appreciated. If you'd care to discuss feel free to contact me on facebook.!/Kev­inMartinFinnJr

Reviewer: pataphysician - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - May 9, 2008
Subject: A great campy film
I was subjected to this film in 1968-it's kept me off of drugs since (joke)- I love it for its campy values and the neat graphics!
Reviewer: JerryInaPouch - - May 19, 2007
Subject: Marty!
Reviewer: Etcum-Spirit220 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - October 22, 2005
Subject: Never never Land
Typical of most anti drug messages past and present. As one who has been there/done that I say some of the assertions are true, but most are either myths or fall short of true reality. One myth perpetrated throughout this film is the "gateway theory", i.e. marijuana leads to heroin. In real life I have met many heroin users who never once touched marijuana but virtually all consumed alcohol. Is the true "gateway theory" then that alcohol leads to heroin ?
I might also add that,like most anti drug messages past and present, the film leaves out two of the most commonly used and potentially dangerous drugs, namely alcohol and tobacco. Also, worthy of mention , note the solutions to the drug problem proposed in the film, namely reporting addicts to the police, tougher drug prohibition laws, tougher enforcement, etc. have all been tried over the 50 years passed since the film has been made and have not put a dent in the drug trade or drug useage.

Otherwise, the film is a really tacky, campy, bizzare and so retro which makes it interesting. If it were a full length movie it would be on a par with "Reefer Madness" and/or "Marijuana-The Devils Weed". It's a great film if you enjoy tacky retro drug films.
Reviewer: Christine Hennig - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - September 25, 2005
Subject: The Sordid Past of Sue's Fiance
This 50s Encyclopedia Britannica anti-drug film is about as campy as IÂve ever seen EB get. It tells the story of Marty, a nice, clean-cut 50s teen who succumbs to peer pressure and tries reefers. Before you know it, heÂs a junkie mainlining heroin, and then experiences the inevitable downward spiral of losing his part-time job at the grocery store, worrying his parents, getting snubbed by all the other clean-cut teens, turning to shoplifting and thievery to support his habit, and finally becoming a drug pusher. Eventually he gets arrested for all of this and, after his mother tearfully tells the judge that heÂs a Âgood boy, gets court-ordered into substance abuse treatment. But after he gets out of rehab, all the nice teens still shun him and he has to contend with pressure from his old junkie pals to start using again. This well-worn story is told in an incredibly dorky and hyperbolic fashionÂÂhighlights include MartyÂs friends getting sick when they first smoke marijuana (Marty also feels sick but hides itÂÂthe sign of a true addict-in-the-making), Marty and his friends drinking Pepsi from broken bottles while in a hopped-up state, MartyÂs mother trying to talk to her surly son about her worries about him, and the post-rehab Marty trying to resist the pressure of his old junkie pal, Duke, to start using again. For those who like to laugh at anti-drug films, this one is a classic.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: *****. Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: *****.
Reviewer: Kyleco - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 26, 2004
Subject: Drug Addiction
I thought it was a well done film. Although it no different than the anti-drug ads today, it was a little informative. I have half the mind to show this to my friends and co-workers who are into weed (I'm not I'm happy to say) I can it see it be a bit laughable. By the way, did anyone noticed that the judge in the film is the same actor who defended the "Master Plan" on television in the film "How to Lose What We Have"?
Reviewer: ICE007 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 11, 2004
As an ex heroin addict. I got a kick out of the way they showed how smoking a marijuana cigarette would take you straight to heroin. It took me years to finally try heroin. I grew up in New York City and during the 70's and 80's heroin was easy to get. But, my friends and I never took it that far. I had tried every drug, then it was heroin that was the last resort and it brought me down. I am on a methadone program and have been clean for 10 years now.
Anyhow, I thought the movie was funny and I guess during the 50's it would scare our youth not even to try marijuana...Because the end result is becoming a hard-core heroin addict. I loved the corny scenes. But, if I was growing up in the 50's it might have stopped me from using heroin. Being I grew up in a different generation, a movie like that would be useless. It was still fun to watch though.
Reviewer: Benderbot - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - September 3, 2003
Subject: Any one know of other sites like this?!
This film is a gem. If you think about it, we really haven't evolved from this. We still use the same scare tacticts and pseudo-science (see current "harmless?" ads). This has great camp value! Eating glass? Where did they come up with that one?

Any ways, if any one knows where I can acquire similar films or any similar sites like the prelinger archives, please write me at !
I would greatly appreciate it. These films have a wonderful mixture of perversion and wholesomeness that is just marvelous.`
Reviewer: Sarcasticus - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - July 22, 2003
Subject: Flawed, funny, but sadly true
The argument is flawed, the images are funny, but the message is good one. I say this as both a teacher and as a parent.

When talking about slippery slope arguments in my classes, I use the drug films of this era as an example. My teachers in the 1960s showed similar films in PE class. Smoke one joint and WHAM! you are addicted to heroin.

I'll admit that I laughed at the images. The drug pushers who stand in doorways wearing trenchcoats and dark glasses. The drug kingpin who keeps his stash inside a lamp on his desk (The cops will never find it in there!). And the scene with boys hopped up on drugs stealing a case of Pepsi, smashing the bottles against a wall, and then laughing as they cut their mouths on broken glass was just too bizzare.

With all of its flaws, though, the story contained a kernel of truth. When my son was 16, his mother and I placed him in a drug rehab center. His drugs of choice were marijuana and alcohol. He exhibited the same behaviors we see in Marty: the moodiness, the evasiveness, the slackers and losers for friends, the petty theft, the poor grades. We took action before there were any brushes with law enforcement.

In the film, the judge sends poor Marty off to a state-supported drug rehab program. How many of those exist today? I'll bet not many. And the state rehab facilities that do exist are vastly underfunded. My wife and I were fortunate that our health insurance covered the cost of our son's treatment in a private facility.

The film is heavy-handed in its delivery. It contains fallacious arguments: the slippery slope and the appeal to fear. My students know that not everyone who smokes marijuana will become instantly addicted to heroin. But most of them have stories about a friend who is addicted to hard drugs, someone who started out by smoking a just a little weed.

Love to all,
Reviewer: Spuzz - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 26, 2003
Subject: Meanwhile. in Bobbi-Sox Land..
After watching Drug Addiction, the chemical tomb and finding out the fifties were all about malt shops and bobbi-sox, it's a pleasure to find this engrossing (and more interesting) film made in 1951 about basically the same thing. After a interesting animated show of what drugs are, and what they do to you, we turn to Marty (featuring the great actor from 'Are You Ready For Marriage'.. obviously not!) as he gets busted for stealing, as he is sentenced to court, we find out the whole sordid details about how he got there. A GREAT story is told, highly entertaining, filled with sleazy underworld types, gloomy friends, and overprotective mothers. Soon Marty is hooked (and eating pop bottles! (eewwww! HAHAHAHA!) he then goes into petty theft to support his habit, and we come full circle returning to the court to hear his momma say 'He's a good boy!" in his defense..

I've seen this film before on the big screen, and it's GREAT to see it again, A MUST SEE on this site!
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